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Immigration chief highlights Rohingya plight in Thailand

Immigration Bureau
chief Pharnu Kerdlarpphon expressed concern over the number of Rohingya
refugees in Thailand. Photo: Kritsada Mueanhawong
 Phuket Gazette –
 May 5, 2013
PHUKET: Immigration
Bureau Commissioner Pharnu Kerdlarpphon, in Phuket for a closed-door meeting of
high-ranking officials, has expressed his concern for the growing number of
Rohingya refugees being detained in Thailand.
Lt Gen Pharnu’s
visit to Phuket on Tuesday was to head a meeting tabled to discuss the bureau’s
“working policy” at which Phuket’s own immigration superintendent did not
attend.
Following the
meeting, Gen Pharnu told the press, “The number of Rohingya entering the
country is a worrying situation. We are now detaining 1,936 Rohingya across the
country, including 399 boys and 304 girls.
“Immigration Police
shelters in the South have no more room for refugees. We have even transferred
some of the refugees to immigration shelters across the Kingdom,” he said.
As an example, Gen
Pharnu noted that 84 Rohingya are being held the Ranong Immigration shelter.
“We provide them
medical checkups and they have a chance to exercise and relax during their time
at the shelter,” he explained.
However, the
refugees’ detention in Thailand is intended to be only temporary, he cautioned.
“The shelters are
supposed to be for only temporary detention before illegal immigrants are
deported, but in the case of the Rohingya, we cannot really deport them because
their home country [Myanmar] does not welcome them,” Gen Pharnu said.
“Now the Thai
Government is in discussions with other countries to find a place the refugees
can be transferred to.
“I have been
assured that the Rohingya will be treated in a way that meets
international-standards,” he added.